Recently, I heard a clever turn of phrase: “Grade 8 Moves.” Ha! What a perfect tag for behavior unbecoming adults—middle-aged adults behaving like middle-schoolers. Bullies and valley girls: dramatic, whining, cliquish, self-important… Eeyup! “Grade 8 Moves.”
We all know them: loose canons of immaturity, some actually having power (but let’s leave the Government out of it, badum-ching!). I’m talking about the ridiculous relative, nasty neighbor, delinquent dude, cantankerous coworker, cheating church leader. They’re somehow stunted, and it seems no one can help them. I’ve heard it said they’re “socially retarded.”
Year after year, people tolerate their idiosyncrasies (that’s a euphemism). Occasionally someone pities the pathetic pencil-neck, following the prompting to “lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Regrettably, he does all three—in that order. This leaves the losers at large. These “middle-schoolers” ruin reunions, upset cul-de-sacs, worry mothers, frustrate the office, and wreak unholy havoc. It’s like a freight train that can’t be stopped.
They can have an adverse effect on families, towns, kids, jobs, even faith. It’s like kids on the train track, with no one to the rescue. When I shared that concept, a friend added that some kids hop right onto the train. Worse yet, they start to resemble the engineer, and shovel coal onto the fire.
This cycle of immaturity is exactly as the devil likes it: a world system, spiraling downward, taking thousands along for the ride. People naturally want to be led; add to that, lazy, undisciplined minds, and voila! prime targets for surrender to Grade 8 Moves.
This “blind leading the blind” is no small matter. I’m reminded of an old but poignant idea: “They’re not sharp enough to know they’re being devoured, even after a limb is missing—and then another limb… they bleed out and die.”
Even though we can’t stop the train called Grade 8 ridiculous, nasty, delinquent, power-hungry, and pompous, wouldn’t we sure like to snatch a few kids off the tracks!
Well, well: this was a big bite today. I’m pensive, as this afternoon we went to a memorial. Thankfully, our dearly departed left an excellent reminder—from Isaiah 41—which which I find quite apropos:
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’